A School for Creativity, Consciousness & Clarity

L E T T E R – Smoking In A Zen Monastery

Grounding is about being connected to within, to the earth, and to nature and taking our heads out of the status quo of overwhelm and our frenetic over thinking and being in the present moment. It’s moving from where we are bombarded with digital information, overflowing to do lists and yearning for an existence without emails – to a space of connection to ourselves as human beings, not just human doings. Of course this can be taken literally, as in getting your body into nature, taking your shoes off and connecting with the earth. However, it also doesn’t have to equate to pottering about barefoot in nature, (and taking a photo of your feet at the beach, overhanging a cliff or similar to share on social media).

Why do we find ourselves so ungrounded, and overwhelmed most of the time? One of the primary reasons is that we are never really ‘here’ and instead we yo-yo between the reminiscing about the past, and projecting into the future, instead of being grounded in the here and now. Present moment awareness is when we do one thing, and we do it well. With all of our attention. 

Now I’m not a smoker, but I do love this story of an American studying Zen in a monastery in Japan. Sprung having a sneaky cigarette outside, he was ashamed – then surprised when the monk admonished him – not for smoking, but for not really enjoying every bit. The monk explained to him that if he was going to smoke, he was to relish the moment, witness the tendrils of smoke sweeping up into the air, to taste every inhalation, to the hear the faint crackle of the tobacco leaves burning, the smell the scent of the cigarette. In essence, to bring awareness to everything the experience has to offer. It’s like squeezing experience out of a moment like juice out of an orange. Imagine if we could do this with every experience? The richness life would offer!

Sent with love,

Jac x

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